OK, I think I'm ready to build my first table. Tips/shopping list? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb OK, I think I'm ready to build my first table. Tips/shopping list?

I've already been given my first project by SWMBO, but I know I need a table to help me practice on routing in general. So I've read the entire table setups thread, and probably about half the site thus far.

I'll be going with either two 3/4" MDF (sealed), or two 3/4" melamine. Since the melamine has a ply/pressed core, I'm wondering if MDF may be the easier way to go.

As for the insert plate, I'll be going with the HF/MLCS version. It looks like HF only sells it online, so it would be about $28.50 shipped, or I could spend about $10 more and order the MLCS version from Amazon and get it tomorrow. I'm leaning towards the latter, and I might as well grab a set of brass setup bars while I'm at it, unless someone knows of a set that I can buy cheaper locally.

I'll probably use scrap MDF/melamine mounted on angle iron (or, just the scrap pieces joined together) for the fence with a couple of C clamps.

I can't think of anything else I'll need. The router is the Craftsman 17543. Would it be easier to make the hole for the router/insert plate before I join the two pieces of MDF/melamine?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 10:58 AM
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Melamine has a nasty habit of chipping off. Use MDF. The rest of your plan sounds good.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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That's been my experience with it, too.

As for the MDF - join then rout/cut, or rout/cut then join? I don't have the skill to use a jigsaw accurately.

For the record, this is what I have at my disposal:

chop/mitre saw (non sliding)
circular saw w/ edge guide
router, obviously
the HF 15 piece carbide bit set - damn, for some reason I thought I got 1/2" shank, these are 1/4"
jigsaw
several hand saws, RO sander, hand sanding tools, chisels
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 01:58 PM
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Welcome to the forum Chris.

Another simple fence that you might consider is a pivot fence. Basically you drill a hole through the fence bottom and the table and put a screw with a knob and that is your pivot. The other side you can still use a c-clamp to clamp it down if you didn't want to use a knob.

Scroll to the bottom pics of this site an you can kinda see what I am talking about. Pivot fence towards bottom LINK

Just an FYI, sometimes Rockler puts there T-track and knob set on sale for half price. It's a good deal when their on sale.

17-Piece Universal T-Track Kit

By the way, do you want to make a full-size or bench-top router table?
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Cocheseuga View Post
That's been my experience with it, too.

As for the MDF - join then rout/cut, or rout/cut then join? I don't have the skill to use a jigsaw accurately.

For the record, this is what I have at my disposal:

chop/mitre saw (non sliding)
circular saw w/ edge guide
router, obviously
the HF 15 piece carbide bit set - damn, for some reason I thought I got 1/2" shank, these are 1/4"
jigsaw
several hand saws, RO sander, hand sanding tools, chisels
Hi Chris - Looks like you have everything you need.

I would:
1. Glue up the MDF top and seal it, apply formica, whatever.
2. Route the rabbet for the plate. This is where you need the accuracy. Pay attention to the corner radius. The rabbet will actually be a groove the exact size of the plate around the outside perimeter. You will want to make the depth of the groove the exact thickness of the plate. Maybe a tad, no more than 1/32, deeper. You can shim the plate up to exact flush later. Set up guide fences to do this. You can either use a guide bushing and template or straight scrap boards to guide against the router base. I would recommend the bushing/template route if you have the capability.
3. Use the circular saw and plunge cut the straight edges of the groove along the Inside perimeter of the groove to within an inch or so of the corners. The inside cutout doesn't need to be that precise as long as you leave plenty of support for the router and plate.
4. Flip the top over and tack some scrap across the cuts you made in the last step. Don't need a lot, just enough to hold the center piece in place.
5. Flip the top back over and make the remaining corner cuts with the jig saw. Remove the scrap and center cutout from the bottom of the table
Voila.. you're done.

John Schaben

The problem with experience is I usually get it immediately after I need it.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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So seal first, then cut. I think I can handle that.

I picked up a set of brass setup bars at Rockler yesterday (wow...that's a store I shouldn't venture into too often), and my insert plate should be here today. I'll go ahead and pick up the MDF and glue it together tonight.

I'm not sure about my ability to do a plunge cut, but I'll give it a shot.

As for what I plan to do, I was probably just going to use sawhorses as a temporary solution, I may also look this afternoon and see how much bathroom cabinets go for. If I do that, I'd probably rabbet the bottom half to securely fit the cabinet, if it was close enough.

I'm really not sure what I want to do. My first project is going to call for some seriously large pieces to box cut, I'll probably have to do that off the table. But I foresee myself doing a fair bit of bookcase-sized projects.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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OK, status update:

picked up two 2'x4' sheets of 3/4" MDF and am attempting to join them with contact cement. Also lucked out and found a piece of Formica for the top. That's curing as well. Hopefully that turns out well, and possibly late tomorrow or Sunday I'll work on mounting the router.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 07:52 PM
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Smile in good hands....

Chris,
like "Allstate" used to say, you're in good hands with these guys.

But food for thought and maybe you can grab an idea from my attempts, my "table" is here: http://ourpage.org/router/index.html



Cordially,
Gerry

Cordially,
Gerry

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Only we must communicate that knowledge to each other via this forum.
Participate, Teach and Learn.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 08:09 PM
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" I know I need a table to help me practice on routing in general"

you know enough to know that, you're off to one fantastic start!!
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Formica looks like it did fairly well. Not perfect, but it should work.

Got the mounting holes on the plate drilled, just have to get some longer screws tomorrow.
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